Rainbow shot glasses

How to make Rainbow Shots out of one Cocktail Shaker

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 16, 2022 
Seeing a bartender pouring Rainbow Shots is fascinating to watch. And if you know how to do it, you can easily make it at home. All you need is some practice and this guide on how to make the perfect Rainbow Shots.

Pouring Rainbow shots is one of the fanciest party tricks out there. If you grab your shaker and fill up several shot glasses with different colored liquid, people won't believe their eyes. And yes, at first, it seems unbelievable to use one cocktail shaker and fill up multiple shot glasses of various colors. But even if you think that's impossible, I assure you, it isn't. Unfortunately for some, it's not witchcraft or magic either. All you need is a basic understanding of physics and make use of it.

How Rainbow Shots work

However, even though pouring Rainbow shots out of one cocktail shaker is possible, it still is tricky. So don't be discouraged if it does not work out the first time. To perfectly nail this one, it will definitely take some try and error. But once you managed to pour some perfect Rainbow Shots, you know it was worth it. So how to do it?

Before you go ahead and try to pour Rainbow Shots, you need to know the theory behind it. The trick is to use liquids with different densities. That enables you to layer them inside your cocktail shaker. Similar to adding a float to a New York Sour, where the red wine sits on top of the Whiskey Sour cocktail. Once you pour the shots, the liquids will blend and form a transition of colors. If done right, the result is a perfect rainbow-colored line of glasses.

How do Rainbow Shots taste

Which liquids are used can vary. I have seen many different ingredients to make rainbow shots. All will end up in a similar result, visually but surprisingly also taste-wise. And by taste-wise, I mean that they all won't be that tasty at all. In the end, it's more about the magic trick than about pouring an enjoyable drink.

As I said before, to get the rainbow effect in the shot glasses, you need to layer the ingredients. So depending on each component, the resulting layers will taste more or less good. Usually, the red ones taste like pure Grenadine -Honestly, nothing I would recommend serving to anyone.

The fact that each layer is another liquid also means that not all the shots are equally alcoholic. So the baseline is: If you want shots worth drinking, Rainbow Shots are not for you.

The Ingredients

You can make those colorful shots with many different ingredients. But as you will need some practice, I advise using a setup that requires a limited number of affordable elements. My recommendation is to start making your rainbow shots with:

  • 6oz Pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz Grenadine
  • 1oz Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Blue Curaçao
  • Plenty of crushed ice


To be able to layer the liquids and pour the shots, you will need some basic bartending equipment and glasses. Here's the list of everything that will come in handy:

Steps to make colorful Rainbow Shots

So here we are. We have all ingredients and tools and are ready to make Rainbow shots. I will explain the steps below and also added a video to help clarify the procedure. However, it makes sense that you read the instructions first. Unlike in the clip, you will be making your layering in a metal shaker and not glass. That way, nobody can see that the ingredients inside are layered, allowing the colors to blend the way they do.

Step 1 - Bottom layer of Grenadine

ust like with a Tequila Sunrise, we add a layer of Grenadine first. For this, measure about 0.5 oz of Grenadine and pour it into your cocktail shaker.

After that, add crushed ice to the glass until it's filled by 3/4.

Step 2 - Adding Pineapple juice

For the next layer, we need Pineapple juice. Carefully measure the 6 oz before starting to pour it gently via your bar spoon into the glass over the ice. We don't want the layers to blend at this stage, so you need to be careful.

Step 3 - Adding the Vodka

Measure 1 oz of Vodka and pour it into the glass. Use your spoon, just like you did with the pineapple juice. Pour slowly to prevent mixing with other liquids.

Step 4 - Top layer of Blue Curacao

That is one of the trickiest parts of the whole process. You have to float Blue Curacao on top of the other liquids. But as it is heavier than the ones below, it will start to mix with the other liquids as soon as you start pouring it in. That is why, as soon as Blue Curacao is in the shaker, you should be ready to grab your strainer and pour the rainbow shots.

To float the 0.75 oz Blue Curacao on top, again use a spoon to avoid accidental blending. Slowly add Blue Curacao to the spoon tip only and let it drip in. The front of the spoon should touch the inside of the glass while doing this. -And remember the spot where it does, as you will need to know for the next step.

Step 5 - Pouring those Rainbow Shots

Make sure the shot glasses are perfectly aligned before you start pouring. And once you have added Blue Curacao to your shaker, remove the spoon and grab your strainer. Then start filling up the glasses straight away.

And now you need to know the spot where the spoon and shaker touched in the step prior to this because ideally, you pour the liquid from the side where you floated Blue Curacao. That way, the blending of layers will work best.

Try to pour even-sized shots into the glasses. If your pouring speed is consistent, you can produce equally sized shots by counting to four.

Naturally, your first try won't be perfect. The layering can be wrong, or the timing when pouring the shots could be off. But after trying this magical move a few times, you eventually will get it right. I promise. And once you know how it works, you can pull this off at any party. Cheers!

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2 comments on “How to make Rainbow Shots out of one Cocktail Shaker”

    1. Hi Naveendhar,
      check out our "Cocktails" section in the main menu. You'll find plenty of cocktail recipes with instructions there.

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